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G. W. & C. B. Colton was a prominent family firm of mapmakers who were leaders in the American map trade in the nineteenth century. Its founder, Joseph Hutchins Colton (1800-1893), was a Massachusetts native. Colton did not start in the map trade; rather, he worked in a general store from 1816 to 1829 and then as a night clerk at the United States Post Office in Hartford, Connecticut. By 1830, he was in New York City, where he set up his publishing business a year later.

The first printed item with his imprint is dated 1833, a reprint of S. Stiles & Company’s edition of David Burr’s map of the state of New York. He also printed John Disturnell’s map of New York City in 1833. Colton’s next cartographic venture was in 1835, when he acquired the rights to John Farmer’s seminal maps of Michigan and Wisconsin. Another early and important Colton work is his Topographical Map of the City and County of New York and the Adjacent Country (1836). In 1839, Colton began issuing the Western Tourist and Emigrant’s Guide, which was originally issued by J. Calvin Smith.

During this first decade, Colton did not have a resident map engraver; he relied upon copyrights purchased from other map makers, most often S. Stiles & Company, and later Stiles, Sherman & Smith. Smith was a charter member of the American Geographical and Statistical Society, as was John Disturnell. This connection would bear fruit for Colton during the early period in his career, helping him to acquire the rights to several important maps. By 1850, the Colton firm was one of the primary publishers of guidebooks and immigrant and railroad maps, known for the high-quality steel plate engravings with decorative borders and hand watercolors.

In 1846, Colton published Colton’s Map of the United States of America, British Possessions . . . his first venture into the wall map business. This work would be issued until 1884 and was the first of several successful wall maps issued by the firm, including collaborative works with D.G. Johnson. From the 1840s to 1855, the firm focused on the production of railroad maps. Later, it published a number of Civil War maps.

In 1855, Colton finally issued his first atlas, Colton’s Atlas of the World, issued in two volumes in 1855 and 1856. In 1857 the work was reduced to a single volume under the title of Colton’s General Atlas, which was published in largely the same format until 1888. It is in this work that George Woolworth (G. W.) Colton’s name appears for the first time.

Born in 1827 and lacking formal training as a mapmaker, G. W. joined his father’s business and would later help it to thrive. His brother Charles B. (C. B.) Colton would also join the firm. Beginning in 1859, the General Atlas gives credit to Johnson & Browning, a credit which disappears after 1860, when Johnson & Browning launched their own atlas venture, Johnson’s New Illustrated (Steel Plate) Family Atlas, which bears Colton’s name as the publisher in the 1860 and 1861 editions.

J.H. Colton also published a number of smaller atlases and school geographies, including his Atlas of America (1854-56), his Illustrated Cabinet Atlas (1859), Colton’s Condensed Cabinet Atlas of Descriptive Geography (1864) and Colton’s Quarto Atlas of the World (1865). From 1850 to the early 1890s, the firm also published several school atlases and pocket maps. The firm continued until the late 1890s, when it merged with a competitor and then ceased to trade under the name Colton.

Place/Date:
New York / 1865
Size:
31 x 28.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
66179mj
Place/Date:
New York / 1857
Size:
14.5 x 12 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
67374
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
13 x 15.7 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
70973
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15.5 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
71868
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15.5 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
72286
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
72457
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15.5 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
73374
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
27 x 18.5 inches
Condition:
Good
Stock#:
84622
Place/Date:
New York / 1857
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
57402
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
13 x 15.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
78699
Place/Date:
New York / 1871
Size:
13 x 15 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
79646
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
79937
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15.5 x 12.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
71952
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
73129
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15.5 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
80120
Place/Date:
New York / 1857
Size:
20 x 27 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
80165
Place/Date:
New York / 1857
Size:
15 x 12.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
53060
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
81401
Place/Date:
New York / 1856
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
82736
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15.5 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
83494
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
26 x 16 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
83635
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15.5 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
72837
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
16 x 12.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
83751
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15.5 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
83840
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
13 x 15.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
84104
Place/Date:
New York / 1856
Size:
13 x 16 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
81383
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
16 x 12.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
84257
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
Good
Stock#:
84327
Place/Date:
New York / 1856
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
84477
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
13 x 15.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
79756
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
16.5 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
85562
Place/Date:
New York / 1854
Size:
27.5 x 16.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
85869
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
78696
Place/Date:
New York / 1856
Size:
13 x 15.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
86713
Place/Date:
New York / 1856
Size:
13 x 16 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
87076
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
13 x 15.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
87108
Place/Date:
New York / 1856
Size:
13 x 15 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
82160

Archived

Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15 x 12 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
16550
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
24058
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
0862
Place/Date:
New York / 1862
Size:
28 x 19 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
1552
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15 x 12 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
19771
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
5619
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15.5 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
5620
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
Fine
Stock#:
1412
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
3908
Place/Date:
New York / 1860
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
3920
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
20.5 x 28 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
8004
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
0543
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
6138a
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
6138b
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
6138c
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
6138d
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
6138e
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
16 x 12.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
8556
Place/Date:
New York / 1864
Size:
26 x 16 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
0564
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
16 x 12.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
0637
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
5610
Place/Date:
New York / 1856
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
0965
Place/Date:
New York / 1856
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
0966
Place/Date:
New York / 1856
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
0970
Place/Date:
New York / 1856
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
0971
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
0976
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15.5 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
3410
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
4370
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15 x 12 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
6143
Place/Date:
New York / 1856
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
0969
Place/Date:
New York / 1856
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
0973
Place/Date:
New York / 1856
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
0012
Place/Date:
New York / 1856
Size:
15.5 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
0494
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
26 x 16 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
0987
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
5613
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
0980
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
25 x 15.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
0986
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
1161
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
1165
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
1166
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
1168
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
1169
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
1176
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
1178